The Federal Court has increased penalties against the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and one of its officials for breaching right of entry laws at a southern NSW construction site following an appeal by the FWO.
The matter relates to the CFMMEU, CFMMEU official Anthony Dimitriou and former CFMMEU official Gerasimos Danalis contravening right of entry laws in November 2018 at the Kiama Aged Care Centre construction project. The unlawful conduct involved obstruction of concrete trucks and certain misrepresentations concerning the officials’ entry to the site.
The Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) commenced legal action against the CFMMEU, Mr Dimitriou and Mr Danalis in 2019 and the matter transferred to the Fair Work Ombudsman in December 2022.
In 2022, Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann imposed penalties of $170,000 against the CFMMEU, $3,000 against Mr Dimitriou and $11,000 against Mr Danalis.
Following a successful appeal to the Full Federal Court in relation to the penalties imposed on the CFMMEU and Mr Dimitriou, the matter was returned to Justice Katzmann to reconsider the penalties imposed on them.
Justice Katzmann has now increased the penalty against the CFMMEU to $250,000 and the penalty against Mr Dimitriou to $4,000 for breaching right of entry laws.
In her latest judgment, Justice Katzmann found:
“(The CFMMEU) has expressed no regret, remorse or apology for the conduct of its officials and there is no evidence that it has taken any disciplinary action or imposed any sanction on Mr Dimitriou for his conduct”.
Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said court penalties affirmed the seriousness of breaching right of entry laws.
“Improving compliance across the building and construction industry is a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman, and we will investigate reports of non-compliance and hold to account those who are acting outside the law,” Ms Booth said.